Herbarium database software

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Fri May 30 14:32:27 CDT 1997

Harvey Ballard wrote:

It's extremely easy to use to develop a truly user-friendly database, it
stores images or movies, etc. as records, too, and it hasn't the character
limit per record that dBASE had. One can make formats in any way desirable
with little effort, and that includes formats for output (printing or
what-have-you). It accepts all the special characters, including foreign
language characters, that Word or Wordperfect do, as well as italics,
underlines and other special formatting features.  It's been GREAT to work
with.  I've been able to spit out (figuratively speaking) subsets of the
specimen data, like altitudes or month/day for flowering specimens, which I
record from herbarium specimens, and import the text file into Excel to get
histograms for elevation and phenology for species.
>At any rate, if you haven't the money to invest in a software system
>that's fully developed but want an eminently usable and flexible software
>with which you can easily develop your own program(s) to meet your needs,
>I recommend Filemaker Pro very highly.

Insofar as ease of use, I'd have to second that recommendation; we
developed the Illinois Natural History Survey collection database template
entirely in Filemaker Pro, and it was a breeze to use, and very flexible.
One feature that proved to be very useful was the ability to have
*formatted* text (as Harvey mentions above), because that let us have a
field which had the original label data *as it appeared* with the specimen,
carriage returns and all. It may not have had the efficiency of a
relational database like FoxPro, but it was much, much easier to use, and
had certain advantages. I seem to recall hearing that the next version of
Filemaker *would* be relational, so it might be worthwhile to check it out
when/if it arrives.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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